Invasive mosquito found in Madera

-- Madera County Public Health DepartmentJune 19, 2013 

The yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) was identified this week in a several block area on the west side of the city of Madera. This aggressive day-biting mosquito is not native to California; however it is a common mosquito in urban areas of the southeastern United States.

The Madera County Mosquito and Vector Control District is working with the California Department of Public Health and the Madera County Department of Health to evaluate the extent of the infestation and will aggressively target problem areas to prevent its spread. “Our goal is to eradicate this population,” said Leonard Irby, the district’s manager. “We definitely do not want this mosquito to become established in our communities.”

The district will expand the search this week and go door-to-door in surrounding neighborhoods to undertake control measures including education, source reduction, larval control, and local ground-based adulticiding (fogging) as necessary to target adult mosquitoes. Fogging will begin immediately in the infestation area.

Unlike the most common mosquito species in Madera, this tiny (approximately a quarter inch) distinctive black and white mosquito is a very aggressive day-biter. While they may be active around dusk and dawn, it is their day-biting habits that are most characteristic. Aedes aegypti is an efficient vector (transmitter) of dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and several viruses that cause encephalitis.

Residents experiencing mosquito bites during the day are urged to report them to the district. “We need the public’s help on this one,” urged Irby. “Anything holding even the smallest amount of water must be overturned and stored upside down. Please survey your property and discard any unneeded containers, cans, buckets, and tires, or move them into the garage. This mosquito is even known to lay eggs in water-filled holes in asphalt and concrete.”

Avoid mosquito bites

Use personal protection to avoid mosquito bites. Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dusk and dawn. Apply repellents such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). Do not use repellents under clothing. In addition to wearing repellent, you can protect yourself and your family by using mosquito netting over infant carriers, cribs and strollers, and installing or repairing window and door screens to keep out mosquitoes.

The Madera County Mosquito & Vector Control District is a public health agency dedicated to the control of mosquito and other vector-borne diseases.

The district can be reached at (559)662-8880 or at www.maderamosq.org

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